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The Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society



President: The Worshipful The Mayor of Lostwithiel Councillor Mrs G M Parsons


Chairman:  Mrs Mary Jones  3 Field Close, North Street, Lostwithiel PL22 0HJ  01208 873504


Secretary: Mrs Mary Jones  3 Field Close, North Street, Lostwithiel PL22 0HJ  01208 873504


Treasurer: Mrs H Roberts, Tregarth, Shute Hill, Victoria, Lostwithiel PL22 OAX




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Unless stated otherwise all indoor meetings will be held in the Church Rooms at 7.30 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month from September to May


The annual subscription is £8; due at November meeting


All are welcome so why not come and join us

All talks are followed by a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits





Not available at this time








Guided walks in Historic Lostwithiel


Guided walks in Historic Lostwithiel  - Organised by Lostwithiel Museum Association


Guided walks during 2017 will start on Monday 3rd April and run

every Monday through to Monday 30th October 2017.


Meet at Community Centre at 11:00 am.


The duration of the walk is about 90 minutes.


 Cost £3.50 per person.   Sorry no dogs


For more details phone Kitty on 01208 873341










Marc Brunel & Son


The Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society played host to the Liskeard Branch on Mon 24 Feb 15,

for a presentation on : 'Marc Brunel & Son', given by their Federation President.  The talk

began with the birth at Quithiock in 1775, of 'Sophia Kingdom', the sixteenth child to William

Kingdom, an Admiralty Purchaser.   Sophia was later baptised at Antony, and later when

orphaned, was found the position as a Governess at Rouen, France.


Earlier in 1769, a young Marc Brunel, was born at Harqueville, Normandy, and as the second

Son to a Market Gardener/Carpenter, was destined for the Church.  Here the Monks recognised

a greater potential in the young Marc, and recommended to his parents that his career be

directed more towards engineering.   Marc, subsequently ended up being placed into the

French Navy, seeing service in the Caribbean, but his ship was called home due to unrest in

France.    Marc, was a royalist and a rather outspoken on, and from there had to flee France,

to save his neck !    On his way to the coast he stayed at the same house as 'Cornish Maid -

Sophia Kingdom', and so developed a keen interest in each other.


Marc, made his way safely to New York, (Sophia, was interned for the duration of the French

Revolution).      Upon entering New York, Marc's ship ran aground, and he as an experienced

Naval Officer, gained recognition through getting it re-floated.   At the age of just 21 yrs,

Marc, soon became the City's Civil Engineer and won further acclaim through navigating

a canal system between the St Lawrence River and  New York Harbour, so saving shipping

many hundreds of miles by going out to sea and back.


Whilst in North America, Marc, learned of a shortage in the Royal Navy of 'Blocks and Tackle

Pulleys' for hauling in goods and raising sails, each man of war requiring several hundred.

Marc, offered the British Admiralty, his design for machines that would turn out these

blocks/pulleys, of a uniform size and many times faster that a team of woodworkers.  His

offer was accept and so Marc, came to England, and started the first production line of

such at Portsmouth, also a second factory producing Army Boots for the British.   The only

problem being that neither the Admiralty or Army paid him for his skills and endeavours,

resulting in both he and Sophia, being thrown into the Debtor's Jail.


By this time, 'Sophia' had been released from Internment, both Marc and she had married

had two daughter and a Son, given his Father's second name and Mothers Maiden Name,

hence : Isambard Kingdom Brunel.    At the  age of 6 yrs this young lad was sent to France

for training as watchmaker and engineer, he failed  in both such apprenticeships !


By the time of his return, Marc, had been released from the Debtor's Jail and won a

contract to build a passage under the River Thames, between Rotherhyde and Wapping.

He did this by sinking two vertical shafts each side of the river to a depth below the

river bed.  He then devised a cupboard like wall then as the dig progressed under the

river, each compartment could be dig out, the door closed to prevent any inflow of

water, and the entire apparatus, pushed forward to repeat all again.  His tunnel remains to

this day part of the London Underground Railway System.


Marc, (later to be Knighted for his achievements), also introduced to the UK, a rocking

saw to prevent choking, the circular saw, a hydraulic lift to bring tree trucks to the

veneer shaving knives, Tin Foil, The Sewing Machine, he experimented with Humphrey

Davy, over a Gas Engine, and for steam propulsion for shipping, here he was ordered by

the Admiralty to cease such experimentation, should other foreign Navy's end up better

equipped with faster and more versatile ships so gaining supremacy of the seas !   Marc,

also navigated a canal from Padstow to Fowey, but the project ran out of money.

Sir Marc and Sophia, lived in Duke Street, London, later to become part of the WW2 War

office, Marc died at the age of 80 yrs in 1849, and Lady Sophia, at the age of 79 yrs in

1854.   In her obituary, it was noted that 'Sophia' never forgot her Cornish roots and

would acknowledge all in the streets of London, whether prince or pauper !   They

had three Grandchildren, by Isambard and his wife Mary Hershalle, and one who became

the Ecclesiastical Accountant  at Ely Cathedral   another, part Architect of Tower Bridge, and

a Granddaughter, the only one to have children and continue the family name as their second.


The two new Underground Railway Tunnels Networks currently under construction in London,

are named ;  'Sophia' and 'Mary', after Isambard's  Mother and Wife.







Founded: 1952


Colours: Grey & Purple